Sunday, August 17, 2008

Family Matters

I’ve had some people on my case lately about my sporadic blogging. Mostly this has been coming from my family, and I figure that all they really want to know is what’s happening in my son’s life. I realize now that after you have children, you completely lose your own life and identity. It becomes all about the kids. (OK, I know that’s not totally true….don’t go thinking that I need more therapy than I’m already getting.) Anyway, I figured since it’s my relatives that have been hounding me about this, I’d make an observation or two about my last visit with my family (which was a couple weekends ago). After taking a long, hard look at how things operate at my Mom and Dad’s house, I have a better understanding of why I’m such a confused person.

When we came through the door of Mom and Dad's at 10PM, there was a fresh plate of Snickerdoodles and a pan of blonde brownies sitting on the counter… right next to where Mom keeps her Weight Watchers book. I polished off three cookies while The Pastor dug into the brownies.

For breakfast, Mom and I carefully chose and ate low-fat, low-calorie granola bars…and the rest of the Snickerdoodles. (well, maybe not the whole plate, but you get my drift).

The rest of the weekend was full of conversations such as how terrible we look in our swimsuits, how many Weight Watcher points certain foods have, and making sure our lattes were made with sugar free syrup. The funny thing is that in between those conversations, were others such as, “Hey….that was my brownie!”, “I need some gummy bears.” and “Wow! Is this a five or seven layer chocolate-fudge cake? Can I have another piece?”

Please understand these conversations are not just between Mom and me. It’s all of us, right down to the last cousin. We are an odd bunch. We count carbs and eat caramel in the same moment. No wonder I can’t figure out if I should drink an Atkins shake or a triple-thick milkshake. Oh well, what’s a girl to do? I suppose when in Rome, do as the Romans, so I think I’ll go have a snack of Sparkle Cherry Laffy Taffy and a diet coke.

Married To The Pastor

Last Sunday, The Pastor preached about marriage and divorce. Being that I’m actually married to him, it’s always interesting for me to sit in the front row and listen to what he has to say on this topic. I’ll admit, sometimes as he’s describing what a godly marriage should look like, I think to myself, Yeah, right, Buddy. What about that doozy of a fight we had last night that started over whether the color teal is actually blue or green. (Yes, that has been a real fight). There have been times in the past, as The Pastor stood behind the pulpit and yammered on about love, respect and submission in marriage, that anger welled up inside me. How could he be such a hypocrite, I’d ask myself. This man has no idea what he is talking about! (There’s a small possibility that I was a little bitter…evidenced by the fact that I use the phrase “yammered on”)

This past Sunday was different, however. Actually, the topic was divorce, not so much marriage, but it’s pretty hard to talk about God’s view of divorce without mentioning the marriage part. But as The Pastor spoke, I found myself pondering years past and the times I thought it might just be easier to walk out the door and never look back. I felt a strange blend of humility and thankfulness for the ways God has grown our marriage. I thought about how grateful I was to hear The Pastor preaching on this topic and not have any negative feelings, only those of love and respect toward him.

I was especially glad to hear him talking about the importance of giving grace to each other because halfway through the sermon I remembered that I left my kayak gear in his truck and I promised him I would take it out 4 days ago. Oops. Good thing we have grace in our marriage.

Another topic of the sermon was “two becoming one flesh”. Of course this has obvious meaning for the physical part of a marriage, but The Pastor was speaking of it on a different level. It touched me to hear him talking about two people really becoming a part of each other and melding into one. I figure if we’ve been married almost 19 years, we should be making good strides in the “oneness” area. Maybe that means we begin more and more to like the same things, to have the same hobbies, to enjoy the same pastimes. That sounds good to me as long as we’re talking about him coming shopping with me, but definitely not me going deer hunting with him. On second thought… maybe a little “separateness” is healthy. This one of us is going to the sale at Kohl’s.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

From Stressed to Blessed

As is often the case, I was a little stressed about having guests that I've never met stay with us for almost a week. These particular guests were supposed to stay with another family from our church, and I have to admit, I was pretty happy with that arrangement. The Pastor was still (and is still) healing from his bypass surgery. Life had been stressful and emotionally draining and as excited as I was that they were coming to speak at our church, I was equally excited that I didn’t have to bear the burden of housing them.

The guests were two young men from Uganda, Mugwanya Francis and his travelling companion, Martin. Francis was the victim of a severe case of polio when he was three years old. It left him crippled for life and in a wheelchair. That coupled with our long flight of stairs down to the guest bedroom, is another reason I figured it would be best if they stayed with someone else.

However, because of a family emergency, at the last minute, plans changed. Francis and Martin now needed to stay with us. My stress level was on the roof! I had too much to deal with, too much to think about, and too much self-pity to take on one more thing. I gritted my teeth and prepared the guest room.

This was the first trip out of Uganda for both Francis and Martin. The reason they came is that Francis has a ministry called “The Father’s Heart” that distributes wheelchairs and preaches the gospel to the handicapped people of Uganda. He partners with organizations such as “Free Wheelchair Mission” and “Joni and Friends” to acquire and distribute the wheelchairs. Along with the wheelchairs, Francis gives hope to handicapped Ugandans who have been taught to believe that they are worthless. Martin is an evangelist who preaches the gospel and travels with Francis to help with his own wheelchair and his needs as they speak to churches about the ministry.

After spending only a short amount of time with these men, my heart was truly convicted at my bad attitude and selfishness. How quickly I forget how privileged we are in American and how privileged I am here in my own home. Our time with Francis and Martin was truly amazing and humbling.

I don’t know why it always catches me by surprise, but I’m astonished at how quickly, if I let him, God can take me from stressed to blessed.


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